Saudi Arabia offers Abbas $10bn to accept US peace plan

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on 16 June 2018

Saudi Arabia offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas $10 billion to accept the US’ so called ‘deal of the century’, Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper reported yesterday.

Discussing details of a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Abbas, the newspaper said “according to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Salman briefed Abbas about the details of the deal of the century and asked him to accept it. According to the information, Salman asked Abbas: What is the annual budget of your entourage? Abbas replied: I’m not a prince to have my own entourage.”

Bin Salman then offered Abbas $10 billion over a period of ten years if he accepts the US peace plan and has the Palestinian government’s base in Abu Dis instead of occupied Jerusalem.

Abbas, however, rejected the offer and said it would “mean the end of my political life,” the report added.

US envoy: Trump team thinking ‘out of the box’ for Middle East peace plan

Officials in Ramallah have refused to comment on the revealation.

Abbas explained that the situation on ground leaves him unable to make any concessions on the illegal settlements, the two-state solution and Jerusalem. Abbas confirmed to the Saudi prince that the Americans would not make any sort of written or serious proposals, warning that if the PA is forced to accept an unsuitable proposal, it would dissolve its institutions forcing Israel to take responsibility of the occupied territories.

On 23 April, senior US presidential advisor, Jared Kushner, said that the American peace proposal would be unveiled after the Muslim month of fasting which ends in early June. “We’re going to wait until after Ramadan now,” he said.

Kushner stressed that the deal was not an effort to impose “US will on the region [Middle East]”.

Failure to launch: Why the peace talks never succeed

(Source / 01.05.2019)

Trade union: Gaza needs investment as poverty at 80%

The increase of Gaza’s unemployment and poverty rate is a result of Israel’s 12-year siege on the Strip

Gazans are seen working on a construction site on 1 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Gazans are seen working on a construction site on 1 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Gazans are seen working on a construction site on 1 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Gazans are seen working on a construction site on 1 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Gazans are seen working on a construction site on 1 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

As the world marks International Labour Day, Gaza has seen its unemployment rate raise to 54 per cent, with poverty levels rising to 80 per cent.

The head of the General Federation of Trade Unions head Sami Al-Amassi said the situation has reached a catastrophic level, adding that the numbers are “shocking”. The increase is a result of Israel’s 12-year siege on the Strip, which has limited the import and export of essentials, crippled the economy, hindered fund transfers and left Palestinians trapped in an open air prison.

Al-Amassi added that though the government has set the minimum wage at 1,450 shekels ($404), a government contracted cleaner only earns 730 shekels ($209) per month.

Workers are unable to complain about the low salaries, Al-Amassi continued, because there are no alternative forms of employment.

READ: Rise in unemployment in Palestine in 2018

In addition to its imposition and tightening of the siege, the Israeli occupation also destroyed 500 factories and workshops during its 2014 bombing campaign against Gaza, leaving thousands without an income. The effects of the siege mean building which were levels have not been repaired because of the lack of necessary building materials. In addition to this, Israel’s navy regularly shoots and detains Palestinian fishermen as they go out for their day’s catch.

Al-Amassi called for development projects and industrial zones to be launched in the Strip to promote the Palestinian economy with international protection from the occupation.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

102 Palestinian journalists murdered by Israel since 1972

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — The Palestinian Journalists Union in the West Bank on Tuesday said that the Israeli occupation forces have killed 102 Palestinian journalists since 1972.

Naser Abu Baker, head of the union, said during his speech for a conference on press freedom in Ramallah that 19 journalists have been killed since 2014.

During the past four months, the Palestinian Journalists Union documented 136 Israeli attacks on Palestinian journalists, and 838 in 2018, including the killing of Yaser Murataj and Ahmad Abu Hussein in Gaza.

In 2018, 52 Palestinian journalists were arrested, and 47 were injured by live ammunition, 189 by tear gas canisters, and 17 by rubber-coated metal bullets.

Baker said that 2018 witnessed an unprecedented increase in the violations and crimes committed against Palestinian journalists, including attacks carried out by settlers.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Sweden foreign minister ‘proud’ to recognise Palestine

After recognising Palestine statehood in 2014, Sweden will continue to support it, says Foreign Minister Wallstrom.

Sweden’s foreign minister expressed her pride on Monday over her country’s recognition of Palestine as an independent state.

“I am proud of the decision of Sweden’s government, which recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2014,” Margot Wallstrom told state broadcaster SVT.

Wallstrom said many countries followed Sweden’s lead in recognising Palestine.

“This shows that we recognised Palestine at the right time. We will continue to support Palestine,” she added.

Ties with Israeli occupation reached a low in October 2014 when Sweden became the first EU member in Western Europe to officially recognise the state of Palestine.

In 2015, Wallstrom canceled an official visit to Israel, as no Israeli official was prepared to receive her.

Palestine has long sought international recognition as part of its pursuit of a two-state solution.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

IOF Arrests Palestinians, Settlers Defile Islamic Shrines

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday kidnapped 7 Palestinian citizens during overnight raids on different West Bank areas.

Local sources said that the IOF at daybreak stormed al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiya village in Ramallah and arrested the brothers Jihad Abu Laila and Mohammed Abu Laila after searching their family home.

The same sources reported that the IOF raided the neighboring  village of Abu Shkeidem, kidnapped the Palestinian youth Ahmad Farouq, and transferred him to an undeclared destination.

Meanwhile in Nablus, the IOF arrested the ex-prisoners Asem Ghuneim and Mujahed al-Qotob after searching their homes and wreaking havoc on them.

Violent clashes broke out in the area between Palestinian youths and the IOF soldiers who heavily fired tear gas bombs.

Eyewitnesses said that the IOF stormed Kafr Thulth town in Qalqilya and arrested Jaree Shawahneh from his home. At the same time in Bethlehem, the IOF abducted Ahmad al-Amour after raiding his family home in Tuqu’ town.

At daybreak Wednesday 12,000 Israeli settlers stormed Kifl Haris in Salfit and performed Talmudic rituals at Islamic shrines under the protection of the IOF who had sealed off the town.

Quds Press said, quoting local sources, that the IOF soldiers deployed in large numbers on Kifl Haris roads, climbed the rooftops of Palestinian homes, and installed checkpoints in different areas.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Israel Army Killed Palestinian Paramedic Then Distributed Misleading Video

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed a volunteer paramedic during a refugee camp raid, after which the army distributed a misleading propaganda video.

According to the investigation by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Sajed Mizher – aged just 17 – was shot in the abdomen while rushing to the aid of a wounded resident.

On 27 March, at around 2.30am, soldiers raided Dheisheh refugee camp located south of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank. Soldiers arrested a resident, then withdrew.

A few hours later, dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the camp again, and were confronted by local residents who threw stones at the occupation forces.

“During this raid,” B’Tselem noted, “three residents were injured by live fire – one in the shoulder, another in the hand, and a third in the leg. A team of paramedics and volunteers from the camp affiliated with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) was present during both raids.”

As Israeli soldiers were withdrawing, “one of them shot M.J., 20, a resident of the camp, injuring him in the leg”. Sajed Mizher, “who was wearing a medical crew vest and standing a few dozen meters behind the injured man”, ran to the injured man’s aid.

At that point, an Israeli soldier shot Sajed in the abdomen. Rushed to hospital, Sajed succumbed to his wounds roughly an hour after arrival.

Later that day, the Israeli military spokesperson published video footage in Arabic “showing a paramedic taking off his identifying vest and throwing stones from a rooftop while wearing a white shirt”. As B’Tselem noted, “the footage was presumably intended to justify the shooting of Muzhar.”

However, “B’Tselem’s investigation clearly found that the person captured on film was not Sajed Muzhar, who was shot at a different location, on the main road of the refugee camp.”

“Therefore,” the NGO added, “even for purposes of public relations, the footage the military published is of dubious value at best. It certainly does not constitute an explanation or justification for fatally shooting a 17-year-old volunteer medic.”

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Ambassador Mansour: Situation in Palestine Going “From Bad to Worse”

01 MAY7:13 PM

The UN Security Council discussed, on Monday, in an open meeting chaired by Germany (the President of the Security Council for this month), the situation in Palestine over the past four months.

The Palestine envoy to the United Nations, Ambassador Riyad Mansour, said, in his address to the Council, that the situation is going from bad to worse, due to the practices of the Israeli occupation, the continued settlement activity, the demolition of homes and the targeting of civilians, especially children, by killing or arrest.

“We reject the American peace plan, and reiterate that any initiative that is not based on international law and UN resolutions, or does not respect human rights, will be unfair and will not work,” Mansour said, according to the PNN.

“The international law is clear in this regard, and Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016 states that no change should be recognized in the areas within the 1967 borders, including occupied Jerusalem,”

Mansour also tackled the US administration’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over territory it occupies, in reference to  the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

“The Security Council declared, in 1981, that the annexation of the Golan Heights has no legal status, which applies to all the territories occupied since 1967. We do not only reject the American recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over occupied territory, but we also believe that it is the duty of other countries not to comply with any change, and to accept any new situation arising out of violation of international laws.”

Mansour added that the international silence and the failure to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and violations are the main reasons for the ongoing attacks on Palestinians and the confiscation of their lands, the arrest of children and the terror of civilians, the siege of Gaza, the suppression of weekly demonstrations in the Gaza Strip and the theft of a large part of Palestinian tax revenues.

On the other hand, Mansour praised the international community’s support for UNRWA, pending a just solution for the Palestinian refugees. He also praised Jordan’s role in preserving the Islamic and Christian sanctities in Jerusalem and the reconciliation efforts being carried out by Egypt and Russia.

Representatives of 50 countries spoke at the meeting of the Security Council, and the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo first briefed the Council on the situation in Palestine during the first quarter of this year, including Israel’s announcement of the establishment of 2,100 new settlement units, Or the seizure of 37 facilities and the displacement of 49 Palestinians for lack of building permits, which are already difficult for Palestinians to obtain.

“Since the beginning of the year, three Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and 63 injured, including 18 children,” DiCarlo said of settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Wounded Palestinian, Who Burnt Him Self Demanding Medical Care, Dies In Gaza

30 APR11:49 PM

A young Palestinian man, who was shot with several Israeli army live rounds on April 16, 2018, and torched himself two weeks ago after his repeated calls for medical treatment abroad went unanswered, has died from his serious wounds, on Tuesday evening.

Media sources said the young man, Bilal Mohammad Masoud, 24, from Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, has succumbed to his serious wounds at the Intensive Care Unit of the Shifa Medical Center, in Gaza.

The Palestinian was shot by Israeli soldiers, on April 16th, 2018, who fired live rounds at him, wounding him in his arm and legs, causing serious bone fractures and fragmentation, before he underwent several surgeries, including bone grafting, but his condition never improved.

He was shot while participating in the Great Return March processions by soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence, near Abu Safiyya area, east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.

His family said that they have appealed for help from several parties in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas ruling party, in addition to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, to ensure his transfer to a hospital in Egypt or any other country.

According to his sister said, the family tried to transfer him for treatment in Egypt but was denied entry by the Egyptian Authorities.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Lands Razed by Israeli Bulldozers East of Gaza City

01 MAY7:27 PM

Several Israeli military vehicles raided Palestinian lands, on Wednesday, east of Gaza City, in the central besieged Gaza Strip.

A Ma’an reporter said that eight large D-9 Israeli military bulldozers entered the region, dozens of meters into Palestinian lands.

Sources added that Israeli military bulldozers razed and leveled the lands while drones flew overhead.

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.

The Israeli army also regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds and farmers, along the border areas, if they approach the buffer zone, as authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

The practice has, in effect, destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sector of the blockaded coastal enclave, which has been under an Israeli air, land and sea blockade for nearly 12 years.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Attacks on Samidoun: PayPal’s complicity in silencing Palestinian prisoners

The Israeli state and the Zionist movement are continuing their attacks on the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestine solidarity movement. One of the most recent effects of these attacks was the closing of Samidoun’s PayPal account. On its face, this is nothing new: PayPal has shut down the accounts of numerous groups supporting Palestinian rights around the world, including BDS campaign organizations, political parties and even media organizations at the behest of demands from various pro-apartheid politicians and agencies.

On the other hand, the sensationalistic attacks posted in pro-Zionist, pro-apartheid media on anyone who struggles for the rights of the Palestinian people and especially the Palestinian prisoners reflect an ongoing effort to isolate the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails by cutting off international moral and political support for their freedom struggle. As a grassroots, unfunded organization, Samidoun very much relies on the small and generous donations provided by contributors, people of conscience who want to ensure that Palestinian prisoners – and the Palestinian people – are not silenced.

On 23 April, we were suddenly told that our account had been “permanently limited,” due to the “nature of our activities.” This is word-for-word the same message that numerous other global Palestine advocacy organizations have received over the years to block them from receiving donations via PayPal. No appeal mechanism is permitted. This cannot be separated from the company’s ongoing refusal to provide services to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while continuing to make its products available to illegal Israeli settlements.

Closing our PayPal account is another method designed to make it more difficult for us to continue to do our work. We are committed to do so, however. So long as Palestinian women and men, children and elders, are held behind colonial bars because they struggle for freedom, we are determined to work alongside them to achieve that goal – for the prisoners and all of Palestine.

Your contribution can help to push back against these attacks. You can donate online to Samidoun here, and if you are interested in donating another way or giving your time to help us, please email us at samidoun@samidoun.net.

An entire Israeli state ministry, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, has been granted an undisclosed budget that reportedly numbers in the tens of millions of dollars to fight back against the growing popular movement around the world in solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people. In particular, this ministry has directed its efforts against supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. It has also taken a special interest in attacking Palestinian human rights defenders and solidarity organizations working to expose Israeli repression against Palestinian political prisoners and campaign for their freedom, including Samidoun.

This ministry is headed by Gilad Erdan, a far-right Likud politician who also heads the Ministry of Internal Security in Netanyahu’s government – overseeing the Israel Prison Service itself. It was the “Erdan commission” that promulgated the recent repressive attacks against Palestinian prisoners that led to the collective hunger strike of April 2019 – ending in a victory for the prisoners. It comes as no surprise that the same institutions responsible for confiscating the rights gained by Palestinian prisoners through years of struggle also want to silence, criminalize and suppress all activists and organizations who work to support those prisoners’ rights on an international level.

Most recently, this ministry published a report, “Terrorists in Suits.” Full of misinformation, deception and outright false information, the report aims to cast support for Palestinian prisoners, the boycott of Israel and human rights defense as “terrorism.” Samidoun was attacked alongside many other Palestinian and international organizations for one simple reason – because we defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners.

The Ministry is also heavily involved in interfering in campaigns for justice around the world. It was referred to repeatedly in the US “The Lobby” Al-Jazeera documentary series, censored and then revealed by the Electronic Intifada, working to pass anti-BDS laws and attack student groups and community organizers in the United States. It claimed credit for prohibiting a speech by former Palestinian prisoner and torture survivor Rasmea Odeh in Germany, as well as the stripping of her Schengen visa.

Via its social media accounts, it continues to attack Belgian artist, worker and activist Mustapha Awad after he returned home from being released after 253 days of unjust Israeli imprisonment. The ministry’s social media page has hosted death threats against Mustapha from various far-right, racist commenters – after even the notoriously biased Israeli court system released him early from Israeli imprisonment. It is difficult to see these ongoing attacks as anything other than an attempt to silence him from telling his story, including his experiences of cruel and inhumane treatment, and that of his fellow Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian people are facing conditions of siege nearly everywhere, of course most notably in the Gaza Strip and in the Israeli occupation prisons. These arbitrary attacks – and PayPal’s acquiescence to these groundless threats over and over again – are but one small part of that larger siege which we are struggling to break, on the road to victory and liberation for Palestine.

To donate to Samidoun, please click here.

(Source / 01.05.2019)